Skip to content

Nate Robinson comes up big once again in Bulls’ Game 1 over Heat

May 6, 2013, 10:48 PM EDT

Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson’s teammates hunched over just so they could celebrate at eye level with the shortest player the NBA playoffs have seen in the last seven years.

Earlier in the night, they would have had to bend even lower.

In the second quarter, Robinson sat on the Heat court with blood dripping from his face. He had just collided with LeBron James, 11 inches taller and 70 pounds heavier, while going for a loose ball. Robinson left the court, but he returned in the second half.

And despite his 5-foot-9 frame, Robinson came up big. Really big.

Robinson had just waved off a Joakim Noah screen, driven right past Ray Allen and gotten all the way to the rim for a crucial basket. A timeout followed, and his teammates ducked their heads to share the joy with Robinson.

The Bulls ended Game 1 against the Heat on a 10-0 run, the final seven points by Robinson, for a 93-86 win.

Marco Belinelli made the first big shot of the decisive run, a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:59 left. Robinson pulled up for a go-ahead jumper with 1:17 left, drove past Allen with 45 seconds left and then made a few free throws down the stretch.

Undoubtedly, Robinson and Belinelli deserve credit for their big shots, but those attempts were created by Chicago’s one decided advantage in this game: rebounding. The Bulls outrebounded the Heat, 46-32.

Joakim Noah offensively rebounded a Belinelli miss to set up the guard’s 3-pointer, and on the Bulls’ three defensive possessions after their final baskets, Chicago held Miami to a single shot. Belinelli grabbed two defensive rebounds, and Noah grabbed the other.

Noah played 39 minutes and grabbed 11 rebounds, using his mobility to remain effective when the Heat went small and still help the Bulls rebound. In theory, Taj Gibson also has that capability, but he had just four rebounds in 25 minutes. Instead, Jimmy Butler (14 rebounds in 48 minutes), Belinelli (seven rebounds in 46 minutes) and Carlos Boozer (seven rebounds in 25 minutes) stepped up on the glass.

One of Chicago’s biggest relative downfalls tonight was its backup guards. With Kirk Hinrich out injured, the Bulls gave Marquise Teague eight minutes and Daequan Cook two, even though those two never stood a chance against Miami’s defense. With Teague on the court, Chicago’s offensive rating was 65.4. With Cook, it was 0.0.

Neither played in the second half, which was a sound adjustment by Tom Thibodeau after neither team scored well during a mostly tight first half.

LeBron had just two points on 1-of-6 shooting at halftime, and the open looks he created for his teammates didn’t fall.

As had happened multiple times in their first-round sweep of the Bucks after back-and-forth play, the Heat made a run in the third quarter.

Dwyane Wade dunked. Chris Bosh blocked a shot. Wade made a layup over Noah by seemingly pausing at the peak of his jump and twisting around Noah as the Bulls center was bound by laws of gravity and retuned to Earth. The Heat defense swarmed the Bulls into a bad shot and a miss. Bosh made a corner 3-pointer from LeBron. Bosh stole a pass. LeBron threw a bullet pass to Wade for another layup.

It was a 9-0 run, and even though no timeout was called, the Miami crowd roared while players on the Heat bench stood. Against Milwaukee, this would have been the decisive stretch.

But the Heat led by six measly points. Fewer than two-and-a-half minutes later, they led by only one.

They can’t make only one burst and expect to beat Chicago, which plays hard all game long. The Heat, whose 27-game win streak ended against the Bulls, know this, but sustaining quality play after such a long layoff is easier said than done.

It’s reasonable to expect Miami will be sharper in Game 2, but the Bulls aren’t backing down, and Robinson is stepping up.

Latest Posts
  1. Anthony Davis excited to get running in Alvin Gentry’s offense

    Jul 29, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four Getty Images

    The Pelicans were one of the slowest paced teams in the NBA last season, that’s about to change.

  2. Chris Kaman has new reality show, to air on Mark Cuban’s network

    Jul 29, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers

    “I think someone who would watch this would think there is something wrong with me and something wrong with my friends.” — Chris Kaman

  3. Report: Veteran point guard Andre Miller reaches one-year deal with Timberwolves

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT

    Shabazz Napier, Andre Miller Shabazz Napier, Andre Miller

    Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are about to be finishing alley-oops from the best lob passer in the game.

  4. Warriors promote Luke Walton to lead assistant coach

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

    Kerr says Luke Walton is a future head coach in the NBA.

  5. Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey says expect more small ball from the Raptors this year

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards - Game Four Getty Images

    Toronto has shifted the roster to be more defensive, and be able to go smaller.

  6. Raptors hire Jerry Stackhouse as assistant coach

    Jul 29, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Stackhouse drives against Carter Getty Images

    Rex Kalamian and Andy Greer also join Dwane Casey’s staff

  7. Jerry Colangelo: I think LeBron James wants to be part of Team USA

    Jul 29, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwmxmdgxmdzhnmq1mwfkn2ewnwi0m2zkowvjzwnhmdmz AP

    Cavaliers star has avoided making a public decision

  8. Brazil’s automatic basketball bid for 2016 Olympics in jeopardy over money

    Jul 29, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT

    Tiago Splitter, Rudy Fernandez, Leandrinho Barbosa AP

    If Brazil qualifies through FIBA Americas Championship, that could close door for another North/South American team from qualifying

  9. Phil Jackson on Kobe Bryant: ‘I could feel his hatred’

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Bobcats Getty Images

    Lakers were in a bad place when Jackson first stepped away

  10. LeBron James Twitter Q&A: NFL career, Kobe Bryant’s best play, Ronda Rousey and more

    Jul 29, 2015, 10:13 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

    Cavaliers star also addresses his favorites – including place to play, rapper, and teammates

  11. Hornets sign Elliot Williams as 16th player

    Jul 29, 2015, 9:26 AM EDT

    Charlotte Hornets vs Philadelphia 76ers Getty Images

    He’ll likely compete with Aaron Harrison to make regular-season roster

  12. Who is still out there: Top 10 free agents still on the market

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:31 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four Getty Images

    Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith head the list.

  13. Donald Trump says he’s becoming a Mavericks fan after Mark Cuban’s comments

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:05 AM EDT

    Celebrities At Game 3 Of The Lakers/Suns Getty Images

    Cuban said presidential candidate is ‘probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time’

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (2805)
  2. B. Haywood (2425)
  3. I. Thomas (2351)
  4. A. Randolph (1955)
  5. L. James (1850)